The NFL reportedly asked rapper Jay-Z to take on a prestigious gig: performing in the Super Bowl halftime show at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota next year on Feb. 4.
According to reports, however, Jay-Z turned the offer down, and there is speculation that he did so because of controversial ex-quarterback-turned-free-agent Colin Kaepernick, who could not find a spot on an NFL team this season.
Kaepernick at one time had a promising career as head quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. But any of his athletic prowess was eclipsed by his pre-game behavior during the 2016 season. Kaepernick made a show of kneeling during the singing of the National Anthem in protest of social injustice, drawing both support and derision from spectators.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of last season and has remained team-less, much to the consternation of many Black Lives Matter activists, and others, who hail him as a hero for his social stance and activism. They believe Kaepernick has been blackballed from the league due to his silent protests on the field last year.
Now, there is speculation Jay-Z falls into that category, and said “no” to the Super Bowl offer as a way to show support for Kaepernick. Some indication that Jay-Z may be in Kaepernick’s corner occurred earlier this month, when the musician dedicated his song, “The Story of O.J.,” to Kaepernick during a performance.
“‘The Story of OJ’ is really a song about we, as a culture, having a plan … how we’re gonna push this forward,” Jay-Z said of the song, which prominently features the N-word, according to iHeart Radio. “We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists, especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger.”
The NFL released a statement regarding the halftime performance, via league spokesman Brian McCarthy, that read: “No decisions have been made on the performer(s) and we are not going to speculate on particular artists. Along with Pepsi, we know that we will put on a spectacular show. When it is time to announce her name we will do it. Or his name. Or their names.”
Britney Spears was rumored to be in talks to play the Super Bowl halftime show, but a spokesman for Pepsi said it’s “not Britney.”
Previous performers at the halftime show include Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga.
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